Are the Miami Dolphins ready to become a playoff team under Mike McDaniel?
August 9, 2022
Despite playing in the same division as the Super Bowl favorite, the ‘Fins have a shot at the postseason
NFL Preview – Miami Dolphins
By Steve Quinne
Win Total = 9.0
Well, the wise guys nailed this one. Nine wins feels like the exact number the Dolphins will chalk up in their first season under new head coach Mike McDaniel.
If it was 9.5, the under would be tempting. If it was 8.5, leaning toward the over would be the play.
So, it’s a bit of a coin flip. It’ll all come down to a swing game or two.
Overall, Miami benefits from being in a relatively easy division. Yes, the Bills are the odds-on favorite to win the Super Bowl. That’s likely two losses for the Dolphins. But four games against the Jets and Patriots offers the opportunity to rack up nearly half the wins needed to reach the win total.
New York is one of the worst teams in the NFL on an annual basis. That’s unlikely to change this season. New England is a storied franchise, but Bill Belichick simply doesn’t have enough pieces to work with at the moment.
The Dolphins, however, have a ton of talent. Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle are a dynamic receiving duo. Myles Gaskin is a solid running back that will help take some pressure off Tua Tagovailoa. And Xavien Howard is the star of an up-and-coming defense.
Outside of the division, the slate is pretty favorable for Miami. They travel to Baltimore, Chicago, Cincinnati, Detroit, Los Angeles (Chargers) and San Francisco. That’s at least two winnable road games. They also host Cleveland, Houston, Green Bay, Minnesota and Pittsburgh. Other than the Packers, all of those are beatable teams.
Being conservative, the Dolphins should go 3-3 in the division. A couple of road wins gets them to five. A 4-1 mark at home against non-AFC East teams gets them to nine wins, right at the number.
Can they pull an upset in the division? Can they get a big road win? Can they knock off a team like Green Bay at home?
It’s hard to see any of those things happening. Take the under.
Odds to Make the Playoffs = +150
The Dolphins aren’t a bad team. As outlined above, they’re likely to go 9-8. But the AFC is loaded with good franchises, meaning that type of mark won’t even sniff the playoffs.
Right now, there are at least eight teams in the conference that are more likely to make the playoffs than Miami. Baltimore, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Denver, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Las Vegas and Los Angeles feel like safer bets.
In reality, the Dolphins will be competing for a wild-card berth. The Bills are going to win the AFC East. Thus, it’s about those other non-division winners getting to 10 wins, which would leave Miami on the outside looking in.
The Broncos, Raiders and Chargers have a great chance to do so, as do the Ravens. Can the Dolphins jump two of those teams to snag a playoff berth? That seems unlikely.
Take the -170. Go with Miami not making the playoffs.
Tyreek Hill to Lead the NFL in Receiving Yards = 20/1
The NFL is loaded with great wide receivers. Davante Adams, Ja’Marr Chase, Cooper Kupp and Justin Jefferson are some of the best, as they’re the favorites to lead the league in receiving yards.
But don’t count out Tyreek Hill. The speedy wideout was traded to the Dolphins in the offseason, where he’ll try to help jumpstart on offense that will be revamped under a new head coach.
Mike McDaniel will use Hill in all sorts of ways. His sub 4.3 speed in the 40 makes him arguably the NFL’s most-dangerous player. He puts defenses on their heels, as he can run by them and get in the end zone on any play.
Yes, catching passes from Tagovailoa will be different than being on the receiving end of passes from Patrick Mahomes. But Hill will also be the focal point of the offense.
Since 2017, the 28-year-old receiver has averaged 1,207 yards receiving per season. Can he add to that total. At 20/1, it’s worth a flier.